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  • Writer's pictureAlexander Jimenez Jimenez

How CATs are Litter-ally Transforming the Translation Process!

Psst... by the way, we mean computer-assisted transition technology (CAT).

Ever think about how your favorite movie gets translated into multiple languages? Or how the voiceovers are perfectly timed with the actor's dialogue without ruining the film's original sound? Well, you can thank CAT for that! And we're not talking about your favorite pet, but computer-assisted technology (CAT)!

In this article post, we will review some examples of CAT tools and how they're used, so let's get straight into it!

What is Computer-Assisted Translation?

In short, computer-assisted translation (CAT) is when translators utilize computer software and tools to translate text from one language to another. Think of it as a collaborative effort between human expertise and computer technology, ensuring accurate and efficient translations. It's not about replacing human translators but enhancing their capabilities to provide services quicker and more effectively.

Core Components of CAT

One significant feature of CAT tools is what is commonly referred to as Translation Memory (TM). TM stores previously translated information, so if a particular document has been translated before, the CAT tool can suggest that translation to the translator, which helps prevent repetitive tasks and ensures consistency.

CAT tools are also often integrated with other applications and databases, making it easier for translators to access glossaries, dictionaries, and other reference materials. This means that instead of manually looking up terms or idioms, a translator can get real-time suggestions, which speeds up the translation process. In addition to TM's, other core components are built within CAT tools to help with the translation process.

Here are three other core components that make using CAT effective:


"Termbases," or "terminology databases," are specialized databases that store and manage terminology specific to a particular subject, industry, or organization. They serve as a reference for translators, ensuring consistency in using terms and jargon across multiple translation projects.

Using Termbases, CAT tools can provide suggestions or automatic insertions for specific terms, fostering accuracy and cohesion, especially when multiple translators work on projects for the same organization. Here are some examples of how termbases support translators:

1. Consistency Across Projects:

We now know that termbases ensure that specific terminologies are translated consistently, whether it's within a single project or across multiple ones. For instance, if a medical translator deals with a specialized term like "cardiomyopathy," the termbase will ensure consistent use across different sessions or discussions. Therefore, these databases will help you.

2. Context Clarity:

Termbases often provide the context of terms, not just their direct translations. For instance, a business term might have a different translation in sports, and understanding the nuance between terms is extremely important! In a global world, knowing how some words can mean something totally different depending on what part of the world you may be visiting is essential.

3. Training and Familiarization:

Before working on a new project, translators can review termbases to familiarize themselves with the terminology they have encountered before and prepare them for the task ahead. This helps translators save time because they don’t need to recreate the translating wheel, meaning that if you translated it before, then you’ll have access to that history.

Machine Translation (MT)

Another core component of CAT tools is the software's ability to integrate with Machine Translation (MT) to utilize machine translation engines. Usually, these software systems automatically translate text from one language to another without human intervention. When integrated with an MT engine, a CAT tool can provide an initial translation draft by automatically translating the source text. Of course, the draft will sometimes be flawed, but it serves as a valuable starting point for human translators.

Instead of translating from scratch, the translator can begin with the machine-generated version, reviewing each segment, making necessary refinements, ensuring the translation captures the nuance and intent of the original text, and then approving the final version. This synergy often leads to faster translation processes while maintaining a high-quality standard.

Interactive Machine Translation (IMT)

Interactive Machine Translation (IMT) is another specialized area within computer-aided translation. In this approach, the assisting software tries to predict the user's intended input by utilizing the information it already possesses. Feedback is given to the translator if a prediction doesn't align with the user's intent. The benefit of this iterative process is that it continues until the provided translation aligns with the user's expectation.

IMT is particularly valuable when translating content where errors are unacceptable, necessitating human intervention to correct system-provided translations. In scenarios like these, IMT has demonstrated tangible benefits for its users. However, despite its advantages, only a few commercial software offers interactive machine translation features, with most advancements primarily emerging from academic research circles.


In this blog post, you learned about the CAT tools and three of its core components. CAT tools are pivotal assets in the dynamic world of language translation. They truly streamline the translation process and reduce the burden on the translator by automating parts of the translation process.

Moreover, with features like translation memories and termbases, CAT tools ensure consistent use of terms, thereby enhancing the overall accuracy and quality of the translation. Ultimately, by adopting CAT tools, translators save precious time and elevate their proficiency, ensuring that their performances are precise and contextually relevant. As facilitated by CAT tools, the blend of technology with human expertise undeniably sets the stage for a more effective translating experience.

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